TRAVERSE CITY — By Carol South
Special to the Record-Eagle
The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation's mission is to make a difference and create legacies that matter.
Since its founding 20 years ago, the foundation stewarded more than $70 million. Organization and individuals entrusted the foundation with their money as a way to make an impact in the region.
Over that time, contributions have resulted in $37 million in community grants given to local nonprofit organizations. Funds supported programs, services and capital projects in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties.
The foundation's assets currently stand at $47 million.
"We're the endowment builder, building the resources of our community to be here forever," said Phil Ellis, executive director of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. "For us, we recognize in our 20th year it's not about us but how we can be a resource for donors."
Twenty years is a relatively short amount of time for a community foundation; a similar foundation in Grand Rapids just celebrated 90 years. In the context of successful and enduring community foundations — there are more than 700 nationally and internationally — the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation's board is planning for the next five, 20, 50 years.
A long-term perspective both reflects and honors the legacies created by donor funds.
Some large impact projects over the years include the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA capital campaign, Thirlby Field and the National Writer's Series. The power of many is leveraged thanks to the Community Foundation.
"(T)he ACE Fund started with just one donor and there have been 750 donors since then," said Ellis of a fund that supports Traverse City Area Public Schools. "We can all be philanthropists."
The board awarded more than $410,000 in December, the latest grant cycle, including $180,000 given as part of its competitive fall grant cycle. Recent awards boost the total for 2012 to $1.7 million granted.
A new Bethany Christian Services program received a competitive grant of $4,000 from the Campbell Endowment for a new Safe Families for Children program, a program that also received a regional impact grant of $5,000 from the foundation's Youth Advisory Council.
The grant allows Bethany to launch an initiative that provides support and a temporary home for children whose families are experiencing a temporary crisis.
"It's really a blessing," said Craig Bultsma, executive branch director of Bethany Christian Services. "It enables us to reach out into the community and help families in need."
The Foundation's roots are linked with Rotary Charities, whose board of directors provided support and leadership in 1992 to establish the foundation.
A W.K. Kellogg Foundation matching grant helped boost the nascent fund. The resulting $4 million raised sparked a match of $2 million from Kellogg for a Youth Endowment.
"They created us to become a resource that others could come to," Ellis said.
The foundation hosts approximately 280 funds that support arts and culture, the environment, youth and education. Community enrichment funds are geared to help with health and human services, seniors, food programs and housing. Approximately 15 to 20 new funds are created each year.
The Foundation distributes about $2 million each year and one of the region's largest grantmakers. More than half the money disbursed is earmarked for community enrichment.
One component is that members of a Youth Advisory Council, teens in high school, get to decide how to distribute $67,500 from the Youth Endowment. The 60 members of this year's council are high school students from the foundation's five-county area. Young grantmakers learn the basics of philanthropy and grantmaking, review applications and select programs to recommend for funding.
"It's a unique way to serve my community," said Lauren Murray, a senior at Traverse City Central High School. "You can think about the impact of these grants and you know exactly what it's going to do."
For more information on Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, call 935-4066 or see www.gtrcf.org
TRAVERSE CITY — By Carol South
Old city manager signed off on splash pad changes
Former City Manager Ben Bifoss approved a change order that led to several current problems with the city's splash pad at Clinch Park, city documents show.Continued ...
City clerk: I made a mistake
A city official acknowledged the city violated state law when he denied an open records request for a draft report on the city's problem-plagued splash pad.Continued ...
Moore donates $250,000 to launch international movie program
TRAVERSE CITY — Michael Moore wants to broadcast Traverse City's love of independent, documentary and foreign films to the world. The Traverse City Film Festival co-founder signed a $250,000 check today in a quiet corner of the festival's box office.Continued ...
Business helps veterans
Jeremy Whittaker and Roland Maximilian Schultz didn’t stop giving back to the community once they left the military.Continued ...
104th race attracts youthful contenders
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ten people — eight Republicans and two Democrats — are vying to earn their party's nomination for the 104th District state House seat, which covers Grand Traverse County. The Aug. 5 primary will determine party finalists for the November general election. This is the first in a series of candidate profiles.Continued ...
Elmwood Township man faces child pornography charges
An Elmwood Township man is accused of distributing child pornography. A investigation involving Leelanau County sheriff's detectives and FBI agents led them to Michael Edward Burr Jr., 22, who will appear Wednesday morning in 86th District Court for a video arraignment.Continued ...
1st-time candidate knocking on doors; ex-board member offers experience
Carol Crawford spends a lot of time walking long, dusty dirt roads and driveways as part of her campaign to join the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners.Continued ...
Director comes home for film festival
The Traverse City Film Festival will provide the ideal backdrop for Layne Austin Simescu’s return from college.Continued ...
Spartans show their film shorts
Cinematic Spartans will help celebrate the Traverse City Film Festival’s 10th anniversary with a showing of student films. This marks the first year Michigan State University students have been invited to the festival arena.Continued ...
Rain possible this afternoon, but likely dry for 'Jaws' tonight
Thunderstorms are expected to roll through downtown Traverse City this afternoon, a potentially frightening proposition for Film Festival goers -- even before they head to the Open Space to see the thriller “Jaws” at dusk.Continued ...
Foundation business anchors in Traverse
A rapidly growing business that fixes foundations is hiring about 20 employees for its new outlet in Traverse City.Continued ...
Glenn Puit: Farmers market, good credit and cool temps
It’s a cool, cool summer. Sounds like a bad song from the '80s band Bananarama. Yikes. Just when you thought you’d never hear the word Bananarama again some bald guy raises those big hair memories.Continued ...
Trails lead to economic growth
Martha Ryan guesses bikers riding along the Leelanau Trail between Traverse City and Suttons Bay boost her restaurant’s business by a hefty 10 percent. It doesn’t just bring more people into her restaurant. It brings hungry people.Continued ...
Study shows economic impact of Vasa Pathway
Businesses can track revenue, profits and stock prices to determine their economic impact. That's a tough task for recreation experts like Julie Clark, executive director of Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails.Continued ...
Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak celebrates decade in business
Beryl Skrocki saw a downtown in need of a little action when she looked over the Village of Empire in 2004.Continued ...
- Monday, July 28, 2014
NMC to lease Shadowland Motel
Northwestern Michigan College trustees approved a plan to turn a local motel that’s been the site of recent drug raids and criminal arrests into temporary student housing.Continued ...
Traverse City Film Fest Schedule: 07/29/2014
What's happening Tuesday at the Traverse City Film Festival:Continued ...
Film Fest ticket sales heat up
Thunderstorms and rain and wind. Oh my! Traverse City Film Festival organizers and patrons are crossing their fingers as the threat of cold, stormy weather looms, especially on the eve of the 10th rendition of the annual event.Continued ...
Expect chilly weather during Open Space movies
Movie-lovers who attend the Traverse City Film Festival's first Open Space showing may want to pack warm clothes and an umbrella along with their lawn chairs.Continued ...
UPDATE: YMCA officials remain optimistic on opening date
There is no longer an electronic ticker on the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA's website that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the new facility's opening.Continued ...
Roads in city, GT County closed
Some local roads will close this week as the summer construction season rolls on.Continued ...
Ex-school board member eyes GT County commission
A former Traverse City Area Public Schools board member who's running for Grand Traverse County's Board of Commissioners said balancing the county's budget will be his top priority if elected.Continued ...
Police dog tracks down accused drunken driver
A Traverse City man faces accusations he wandered away from his pickup truck after he drunkenly ran it off the road and into a Long Lake Township ditch.Continued ...
Authorities investigate Whitewater blaze
An abandoned Whitewater Township farmhouse collapsed in a fire that authorities consider suspicious.Continued ...
Teen's jump into Leland marina waters prompts search
A teen's plunge into Leland Marina after a suspected boat break-in prompted a search by local authorities and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew who didn't know he resurfaced and went to a friend's home.Continued ...
- Old city manager signed off on splash pad changes